Tag Archive | "freelancers"

How to Build Your Contractor Brand

Working as a contractor is tough, as you likely already know. If you work on just a single contract at a time, you have the issue of not knowing when it may end, or risk sudden termination if the company gets into trouble or needs to make cutbacks, leaving you out in the cold. If you work for multiple clients simultaneously, you have a constant search for new business, to keep driving jobs and making sure there is money in the bank at the end of each week.

What can you do to help make your life easier? Here’s our top tips:

  • Subscribe to job alerts. CV-Library was recently named the best job site for UK contractors to find work. (Others are also available). Set up email alerts direct to your inbox with links to potential new opportunities to ensure you don’t miss out.
  • Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.Ask previous clients for recommendations and endorsements, as third parties telling the world how great you are having endless benefits. Build your presence by commenting on stories of companies you follow, where you believe opportunities for you may exist either now or in the future.
  • Consider creating your own website, if you don’t have one. Your own URL and email address adds a sense of professionalism, and acts as a shop window to the work that you do and the services that you offer. If you don’t have time to create one yourself, sites such as Upwork, Peopleperhour and Fiverr can be a great place to find someone to help you create one for a reasonable cost. 
  • Consider outsourcing your accounts. Of course, there are packages to enable you to manage accounting online, but these can’t help advise you on potential tax savings you can make as a contractor, or the benefits and perks you may be missing when you file your tax return. Fill out our simple form to find the best accounting companies who can help you out.
  • Think about using an umbrella company. Operating under a limited company framework, rather than self-employed has benefits for some contractors, but aithough the hassle of having to prepare and file quarterly statements to HMRC. 
  • Too much admin?Again, outsource it. A virtual PA can help you get through that pile of papers on your desk and can work on a single project, or a few hours a week to help you keep on top of things.
  • Take advantage of local business networking services.Many Chambers of Commerce have free to attend breakfast meet ups, where you can meet potential future clients. 
  • If you work from home, consider shared office space.Communal working in a shared office space doesn’t have to be expensive. It can get you out of the rut of being alone all day and gives you an opportunity to meet potential future collaborators or clients. 
  • If you’re an office-based contractor, take time building relationships with people outside of your immediate team. You may find even though your project is coming to an end, that an opportunity exists elsewhere in the organisation, and, if a company knows you and likes you, you’ve already got your foot in the door if you have a relationship with the team and project manager.
  • Never stop learning. Use your commute time to get on YouTube and learn new skills that can boost your current skill-set. Just 30 minutes a day can take your skills to the next level or broaden them so you’ll be ideally placed for the next contract that comes your way.  

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Accountant Steals £350k – “Unfit For Prison” Says Judge

When you hire an accountant you expect them to save money for your business…You don’t expect £350k to find its way into their pocket.

Unfortunately, some accountants don’t play by the rules, and this is what a court has been hearing about in a recent case.

The story in brief? An accountant was hired by a technology firm to do their books and make sure everything went smoothly. However, this particular accountant had other ideas, and instead, she proceeded to steal around £350,000 that would go on to fund her online poker addiction, the court heard.

Under scrutiny from prosecutors, the accountant went on to tell how she got the cash out of the business by creating over 400 fake invoices.

Well, the judge decided this just wasn’t on at all, and once found guilty the accountant was on the brink of being given a sentence of 3 years and 4 months in prison, which as many people would no doubt agree with, is reasonable punishment for committing such a crime, especially when you consider the amount of money involved.

However, just as the the judge was about to slam the hammer down and send the accountant directly to jail without passing go or collecting £200, it appears the judge had a change of mind and came to the conclusion she was “unfit for prison.”

This means the accountant won’t be relaxing in a cell and watching TV all day with her feet up, oh no, it was decided she would get a 2 year suspended sentence and also be hit with 250 hours of unpaid work.

The decision has been met with almost universal outcry from business owners, contractors, freelancers, and self employed people around the country, who argue that it sends out completely the wrong message, especially when you consider the crime that was comitted

If an accountant can steal over a quarter of a million pounds from a business, which let’s face it, would be enough to send a lot of people out of business, and then avoid prison or any kind of serious punishment, then many other accountants are going to start thinking it’s ok to do this kind of thing.

In my opinion, this accountant should have gone to prison and be made to serve time behind bars. If you don’t punish these type of crimes in the right manner, then we can expect to be hearing more stories about stealing and corruption over the next few years.

Which is a shame really, because I’ve always thought of accountants as trustworthy and respectable, where you can hand them the “keys of your business” so to speak, and then leave them to work their magic on your books and save you money.

You don’t expect them to be filling their own pockets and then lying to your face, but as we are hearing about now…it does happen.

That is why I always recommend to use a recommended site, such as this one, where you can find the contact details of professional and trusted accountants who are there to serve you and your business in the right manner.

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£1.1m Tax Paid by eBay, They Made Over 1 Billion

We all know that big companies are getting away with paying tax in the UK, but £1.1m in tax from eBay? Surely this is a joke.

It gets even funnier when eBay themselves have announced that their revenue in the UK was £1.1bn last year.

They have 372 staff who mainly work in offices throughout London, and have been allowing online sellers to advertise their goods for years. Once a sale is made, either through an online auction or fixed price sale, then eBay takes a percentage of the sale for allowing the seller to list on their site.

When you consider that millions of Brits use eBay on a daily basis, then it’s easy to see why they are now a Billion pound company here, it’s just unfortunate there is virtually none of that money going back into the UK.

So how are they getting away with it you might be wondering? At the end of the day, it all comes down to very clever accountants who know the system and use it to their advantage.

Some experts have claimed that eBay use a very complex corporate structure that ultimately sends the majority of income into divisions of the company that operate overseas.

I suppose it’s nice when you can pay millions of pounds to accountants who can then plan out this type of structure, I’m sure this is a luxury that many contractors and self employed freelancers would like to have.

This really brings us to the question…Are eBay actually doing anything wrong, or are they just fairly gaming the system? There are many people who argue that it is the responsibility of a company to pay as little tax as possible legally, and if eBay have worked out a way to do achieve this they have every right.

To a point I agree with that statement, but it does become frustrating when you see these very big companies like eBay, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, who are basically paying no tax at all into the UK system.

I think the responsibility on this should come to the government, who must step in and investigate further as to what companies such as eBay are doing to only pay £1.1m in tax. They should then take appropriate action to stop it from happening.

This might not be possible though, because if those clever accountants are always one step ahead it means that many companies can enjoy operating in the UK basically tax free.

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West Midlands Leads the Way in Self Employment

Figures released by the government show the West Midlands is right at the forefront of the self employment revolution.

Since 2008, 35,000 workers have become self employed in the region, which means that by the beginning of 2016 that amounted to a total of 131,000 self employed workers.

Of course, many of the people in these figures are contractors and freelancers, which just goes to show how popular the industry is becoming.

When you add that many self employed people can work the majority of time at home from their laptop, then it’s easy to see why thousands around the West Midlands are going out on their own.

I think the government needs to be congratulated about these figure. Why? Because they have always led the push for more self employment in areas such as the Midlands, giving people incentives to go out on their own, and even offering benefits for those first few months which can be challenging

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think for a minute that a “benefit culture” is a good thing, but if it can help some people start a business or adapt to the contractor lifestyle for a month or two, then it can be very beneficial, just as long as people don’t start to try and game the system.

At the end of the day, if someone has a proven business plan and the energy and focus to make it happen, then why not get some incentives from the government to make it happen. Far more better than putting barriers in the way of people becoming self employed or just looking to tax them at every available opportunity, to the point where it makes no sense to work for yourself.

In this post Brexit economy we need entrepreneurs more than ever before, so that we are able to get back to a position of strength and then compete in the European markets once again.

Where exactly in the West Midlands is all of this self employment? Solihull and Walsall have the most according to the figures, with 9.6% and 7.8% for both of them.

Quite surprisingly, the city of Birmingham only had 7.6%, which means it came in at third on the table for the West Midlands.

Personally I expected it to be higher, especially when you consider the amount of people that live in Birmingham. I’m sure they can do more over the next 10 years though, in order to claim that number 1 position.

All in all these are good signs for the UK economy, and if other areas of the country follow suit then we have a lot to be excited about.

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Report Suggests All British People Should Pay UK Tax

In a new report by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, or the CISI for short, it has been suggested that all people who have a British passport should pay UK income tax, no matter where they are living in the world. The main thinking behind this kind of move would be to stop those millionaires and billionaires who take up residence in places such as Monaco or Switzerland in order to avoid paying tax in the UK altogether.

I for one would be in favour of doing something like this in order to stop people cheating the system,. Let’s face it, if you own a business in the UK and the majority of your income comes from UK consumers, then you should have to put money back into the system by paying tax in this country and not pretending to live somewhere else so you can enjoy a tax free lifestyle. It just isn’t right.

Actually, this kind of system is not a new idea, as in the US all citizens are expected to pay taxes to the IRS, even if they are not currently living in the country or are working elsewhere. At the end of the day, if you want to enjoy the benefits of being a US citizen and you are the proud holder of a US passport, then why shouldn’t you be expected to pay into the system? If changes are made in the UK then we could soon be seeing something along the same lines.

Not everybody will be supporting these kind of changes though, and it’s not just the super rich who would against it. Contractors and freelancers who spend time working abroad could find themselves in a bad situation where they might be expected to pay income tax twice…once to the country they are working in and then again to the UK government. For somebody who doesn’t make millions, or billions, this could be a disaster and would mean earning a decent income becomes too much of a struggle.

In turn, this would discourage freelancers from seeking work outside the UK, which then leads to Britain becoming even more isolated from the EU and the rest of the world. After Brexit there are already enough people saying that we are heading in the wrong direction…and a move such as double taxation could make it even worse.

So what is the solution? Obviously, an easy way to make this kind of system fairer would be only tax UK residents living abroad that earned over a certain amount. This would surely put an end to tax dodgers living in the sun, while it would reward genuine and hard working people who are just trying to earn a decent income.

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Bank of Ireland caught out on tax avoidance

Sorry, Bank of Ireland – if contractors and the self-employed can’t get around new tax avoidance rules, neither can you, mate!

The BoI made a good run of things, but eventually it’s going to have to pay the piper after trying- and failing – to avail itself of a corporation tax loophole to the tune of £27 million.


Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs took issue with how the bank tried to use former building society Bristol and West, a subsidiary of the Bank of Ireland, to avoid the tax. HMRC challenged the move, and lo and behold – the Court of Appeal threw the book at the bank.

For its part, the taxman said the scheme was a move to exploit the transition from one piece of legislation to another. Contracts from the Bank’s subsidiary, which were controlled by the original legislation, made their way into the hands of yet another subsidiary (how many subsidiaries does one bank need?), but under the newer legislation instead. With the Bank freely admitting it was doing what it was doing solely to weasel out of its tax obligations, the only defence it would raise was essentially, “well, the loophole was there, so we decided to use it,” a move the HMRC’s Director General of Business Tax Jim Harra denounced as “cynical.”

It absolutely tickles me to know these big, bad corporate entities – that likely thought they were above the law, simply because they were so large – are getting roughed up quite a bit by the taxman for their hubris. I’d love to see other companies get the same treatment – namely these giant multinationals that funnel all their taxable income offshore – especially since if HMRC could just get its hands on those  hundreds of millions in unpaid taxes, maybe it would stop harassing freelancers, contractors, and other self-employed folk who actually work for a living.

Will this actually ever happen? Probably not. Most of these multinationals are so powerful that, to a degree, they really can write their own rules – especially since they’ve got ministers and other legislators on the run out of fear that they’ll pull up tent stakes and leave the UK altogether. Still it’s nice to dream that maybe one day our country won’t be beholden to these grotesquely massive companies that run roughshod over our tax laws, isn’t it?

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FSB welcomes new OTS recommendations

The Federation of Small Businesses has come out swinging in support of new tax recommendations made by the Office of Tax Simplification.

Contractors, freelancers, accountancy experts, and pretty much anyone who runs their own business and has less than 10 employees do not have much in the way of nice things to say about the Government. This is due in no small part to how SMEs and sole traders are more or less put through the wringer – look at the new “supervision direction and control” SDC rules going into effect on 6 April if you want to kick over that particular beehive. However, sometimes the Government gets it right, or at least takes some steps in the right direction – and the FSB wants everyone to know that the OTS just took one of those baby steps.

Well, the FSB would have liked what it called a “broader approach” taken by the government entity, but the trade industry body isn’t discounting the fact that the OTS stepped up to the plate for small business owners. There’s simply a dire need to reduce administrative burden and simplify the tax system, FSB representatives said, and the organisation was mightily encouraged to see a recent OTS report recommend additional research into the development of a consolidated tax model for any company that employs 9 workers or less. Such a plan would allow turnover to be factored in as a basis for tax.

The OTS recommendations say that the current tax system, one that treats multinational mega-corporations the same as infinitely smaller companies, is simply “disproportionate.” The FSB is onboard, remarking that a more personalised and simplistic system needs to be implemented that focuses around each firm and each claim. Such an approach, which would be much more ‘tax-payer centric,’ would also be much more recognisant of how companies of different sizes can and cannot face compliance costs.

If the FSB was in charge, it would be implementing a single-payment solution for small firms that incorporated several separate taxes into one. This would potentially reduce tax complexity for small companies by a massive margin, the trade industry body said. With more people choosing self-employment – and with the taxation pitfalls that brings – these issues are growing increasingly important today, don’t you think?

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BoE extends Funding for Lending scheme for small businesses

The Bank of England in its infinite wisdom has decided to extend its Funding for Lending scheme to provide more opportunities for small businesses.

If you’re not familiar with the FLS, it’s an initiative designed to provide “easy access” financing to small businesses, sole traders, entrepreneurs, and even some contract workers and freelancers in certain instances. The scheme involved providing incredibly low-cost capital to banks at wholesale interest rates; High Street in turn was supposed to pass on the savings to SME owners and sole traders looking to finance their operations through likewise attractive interest rates.

FLS was, on the outside, likely a good idea. Then again, Communism looked good on paper as well, didn’t it? The truth of the matter is that most banks would take the cut-rate capital and “offer” it to those it felt qualified for an FLS business loan. The problem is that High Street was often accused of making the qualifications so blasted high that not even those with spotless credit histories could gain access to lending in many cases. In other words, the last few years of the programme were viewed as less successful in putting working capital or investment capital in the hands of those who would most benefit from it. Banking officials denied any such behaviour of course, which surprised no one; in the end, Funding for Lending was supposed to come to an end at the beginning of 2016.

However, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has convinced the Bank of England to somehow, keep FLS alive for two additional years. Now, the scheme will end in the early days of 2018, providing two more years of opportunities for High Street banks to stuff their coffers full of low-cost wholesale funds and continue to not lend it out to those who need it.

I really don’t know what to think of this. Honestly I had forgotten all about FLS, sort of dismissing it as one of those failed grand experiments the Government engages in from time to time. I suppose I’m gratified to hear that it will still be around for another two years, as perhaps there will be some budding entrepreneurs who will actually be able to convince High Street banks to part with some of that dosh. Am I holding my breath for it to happen, though? Absolutely not. But then again I’m more than a bit of a misanthrope and a curmudgeon, so I expect the worst. Your mileage, of course, may vary – but I doubt it.

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Late payments to contractors higher than ever

Small business owners in the UK – which include contractors – are now owed something like £67.4 billion. This late payments epidemic needs to end!

Freelancers have absolutely nothing to be happy about, according to the Asset-Based Finance Association. The AFBA has been keeping track of how much money is owed to SMEs throughout the UK, and the news is absolutely abysmal. The organisation reports that things are getting worse, too – 2011’s late payments were only £49.5 billion, indicating a 36 per cent increase over the last few years – and that most invoices, on average, don’t get paid for 72 days straight.

So why are SMEs being hit so hard? Well honestly I’d think it has much to do with the arrogance of larger firms here in the UK. Big companies with massive accountancy departments know exactly how much money they have, how much they can move and when, and when you’ve got a big team of accountants working for you it’s easy to look for loopholes or simply ignore the entreaties of smaller companies – especially contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed Brits that have little to no pull in the business world. Why bother paying these blokes and birds on time and in full when there’s no real consequences for you if you push them off until it’s convenient for you to pay them?

The Government has, of course, been next to useless on this issue. Oh, yes, there’s plenty of “growing concern” being bandied about in Parliament or at Downing Street, but with policymakers more concerned with mollifying these big businesses and keeping them happy instead of allying themselves with the needs of the unwashed masses, these concerned moans coming from MPs and ministers is nothing more than hot air being blown up the nether regions of contractors trying to make a living. Perhaps if these policymakers had to chase down invoices from their clients so they could keep paying their electric bills and keep petrol in their vehicles so they could get down to the shop for milk and bread it would be a different story.

So what’s a contractor to do, besides keep slogging away and earning a living the only way you can? Not much, really. I would say avoiding companies that are notorious when it comes to late payments is your best bet, but the truth is that with the problem so prevalent and widespread in the UK it’s going to be a challenge to find a company that’s actually as keen to manager their outgoings as they are to manage their incomes – or at least a company that has accountants that have more moral and ethical compunctions against giving the little guy a stick in the eye instead of paying an invoice.


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HMRC walks off with massive £32 million payday

Between new Accelerated Payments made to the tax authority and other aggressive tax collecting activity, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is £32 million richer.

Yes, you read that right – £32 million has been raked in by HMRC recently. Not only that, but the lion’s share of that cash, some £29 million, comes from the new Accelerated Payment regime that the taxman initiated back in August, which makes it a requirement for anyone accused of being involved in tax avoidance pay the amount of money they’re accused of skimping on up front.

This £29 million is actually just the tip of the iceberg, as the cash comes from just a selection of 30 tax avoidance scheme users in August who were informed they had 90 days to put up or shut up so to speak. An overwhelming 99 percent of the cash HMRC was waiting on under the Accelerated Payment regime ended up in Treasury coffers before the end of the deadline period; this means of course that it’s now going to be considered “a successful initiative” by Treasury boffins, leading to an even more concentrated push to expand the programme.

Honestly I think I’m coming around on this whole Accelerated Payment business, simply because I think it’s highly unlikely that any contractors or freelancers were targeted by the investigations. With only 30 cases leading to £29 million in payments, that’s something like just a bit less than a million pound per case – and I’m reasonably sure that no self-respecting contractor in the UK, if they managed to earn that much in a single tax year, would have been so keen to sink it into a tax avoidance scheme. Instead I’m fairly sure that the individuals and firms fingered by the new scheme are likely to be those particularly high-earning bastards that think it’s completely permissible to sink their money into a subsidiary account in some place like Luxembourg because they think they can get away with it.

For what it’s worth, these people are absolutely daft. There’s no way around it any more, not with the Treasury finally being tipped off to how widespread these schemes are. Honestly I hope the taxman goes after each and every one of these bastards who thought they were too rich to have to pay their fair share.

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Contractors clean up in the digital and marketing sector

With firms shooting themselves in the foot over pay packages for permanent employees, contractors have been cleaning up in the digital and marketing sector.

Pay rates and renumeration packages are so important when it comes to attracting quality talent. I mean it’s one thing if you just want any bloke off the street to fill a role, but when you’ve got specific needs for particular skill sets – like the digital and marketing sector – you need to make sure you’re offering enough pay to attract the best of the best, don’t you think?

Well, apparently the sector is about as good at measuring how much money people need to survive as the court of Louis XVI was. Did you know that there’s a 20 per cent vacancy increase in the sector, yet placements have fallen by six per cent? It’s true – at least that’s what APSCo says anyway.

Now I know what you’re thinking – it must be the skills shortage, right? Well maybe to some degree, but the truth is that salaries have gone down by three per cent in the digital and marketing sector.

So here’s the dilemma: who gets to tell the sector as a whole that it’s shooting itself in the foot? I mean come on; of course you’re not getting any bites when it comes to vacancies, luv – you’re not offering enough cash for the job! Is it any wonder that the industry has increased its take up of freelancers and contractors by 15 per cent year on year? Of course not; someone’s got to keep these firms afloat as they flail about in icy waters. The problem is that they don’t realise they’re in just up to their ankles right now.

What a collection of pillocks. If you ask me, it’s no wonder they’re having trouble sourcing good permanent candidates considering how they think they’ll attract more flies with vinegar than they will with honey. I’m not surprised in the least – merely disappointed – but at least it means that there’s more positions to go around for the nation’s contract workers, eh?

I swear sometimes I wonder if someone’s mums spent a few too many nights down at the local pub whilst waiting for the buns in their ovens to be done baking. I mean there’s thick, and then there’s really thick, innit?

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Large scale investors skittish over tax avoidance row

The ongoing tax avoidance row in the UK between the Government and multinationals may be making large-scale investors quite skittish about their choices.

When it comes to finding ways out of being responsible for paying their debt to the taxman, multinationals are supremely adept and weaseling out of paying appropriate levels of corporation tax. Companies like Starbucks, Apple and Amazon are harder to pin down than a hog coated in an oh-so delightful mixture of mud and grease, and aggressive tax avoidance schemes have become commonplace; this has led to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to push harder to collect unpaid taxes from small business owners and self-employed Brits like freelancers and contractors who lack the ability to employ a cadre of crafty accountants to find legal loopholes to jump through and deny the Treasury its due.

However, the winds of change are blowing; it turns out that some large-scale investors may be increasingly reticent to back large companies that have a reputation for not paying their fair share. Investment advisers say that while backing a company using an aggressive tax avoidance scheme might be lucrative in the shorter term, when it comes to the long game it could end up being a losing proposition.

It turns out that there truly is such a thing as bad publicity. There’s nothing worse for a company than being known as one that uses grey-area practices to avoid paying its fair share of corporation tax. This can lead to consumer backlash that can impact profitability; the knock-on effect could easily be a reduction in the return on investment for anyone who has sunk vast amounts of cash into one of these companies. This is the last thing that investment companies want or need, as the reputation of a company can often be quite difficult to rehabilitate in the face of consumer ire and disapproval.

For what it’s worth, I can’t agree more that investors need to be wary about which horse they choose to back in today’s economic landscape. Nobody likes to think that they’re giving money to a cheat, whether they’re a consumer or an investor, and I truly believe that the tide may be turning against multinationals that like to play fast and loose with the rules when it comes to paying their fair share. The average Brit doesn’t have much recourse when it comes to avoiding his or her tax burden, so why should these multinationals get away with murder? It just doesn’t seem very fair to me.

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Government letting the side down in debt collection

If you’re a contractor or freelancer and you’re tired of being harried by the Government for tax avoidance, don’t worry – there’s a chance they’ll forget you.

Or at least that’s what the writing on the wall says according to the Committee of Public Accounts. The committee chair, Margaret Hodge, had some very stern words for the Government in regards to their ability to collect on the debts the Government is owed. Apparently tax collection is just too difficult for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs – despite the fervor that the taxman has for rooting out every single contract worker that might be at risk for falling under IR35 – and the committee cites the unbelievably high sum of £22 billion that has gone uncollected – and that’s after the Department for Work & Pensions and HMRC has already written off £3 billion of that sum!

The total owed to HMRC at the moment is some £15 billion according to official figures. This is of course after the tax authority has been turning over every stone for unpaid contractor tax. Imagine how much higher the amount owed would be if HMRC hadn’t been going at it hammer and tongs over the past year or so. If you’re one of the other entities that owes cash to the Government, you can probably sleep better at night knowing that you’re likely never going to have to hand over the cash you owe, you cheeky little bastard.

So what does this bit of information do for you? Well if you’re a contract worker that’s been subject to the Government’s tender ministrations, you’re probably more than a bit angry. I know I would be, especially if the revenue collected from the tax avoidance crackdown has been literally just a few pennies in comparison to the tens of billions of uncollected cash that’s still out there. Is there anything harried and put-upon freelancers can do about it? Well sadly no – except perhaps going down to the local pub and having a few pints to drown your sorrows. Just make sure you don’t try to pass off your night of drinking as a business expense – something tells me HMRC won’t take very kindly to the idea.

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HMRC takes pity on contractor VAT returns by relaxing rules

If I’ve said once I’ve said it a dozen times: sometimes Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs comes through for contractors in a major and much appreciated way.

Apparently HMRC will be changing its VAT return policies especially for contractors and freelancers that are unable to file returns over the internet. This is a major departure from their online-only policy and is an offshoot of a tax tribunal that took place last October where three individuals said that they had physical limitations such as disabilities that precluded them from learning an online-only return system. The judge at the tribunal agreed that the online-only rules were too restrictive; what this means for the rest of us is that any company of any stripe – and that includes freelancers, contractors, and other self-employed Brits – will be able to do it over the phone or even file a paper VAT return once more.

This is of course great news for anyone who has either an inability to use an online VAT return filing system or simply one who doesn’t trust computers any farther than they can be thrown. And let’s be honest – with the weight and dimensions of the newest laptop computers, you can’t toss one of those remarkably far unless you wind up like an Olympic discus thrower. Personally I think this is a great victory for those of us who feel that the taxman has gotten a bit big for its britches, especially when it comes to the online-only filing. It hasn’t been that long since the whole Real Time Information filing requirements for PAYE went live, and we all know how that’s been going over (hint: much the same way a lead balloon would go over). HMRC has already provided leniency for many firms when it comes to RTI – especially those who can’t handle the new electronic payroll transmission requirements – so I don’t see how the VAT return filing problem is much different.

Whatever the result – and regardless of whether it was court-ordered by a judge or if it came down from the tax authority directly – I’m chuffed to bits that everyday taxpayers like you and me are getting some support from HMRC. Let’s hope things keep going in this vein and that it doesn’t end up reversing itself and trending back towards kicking taxpayers in the bollocks and then rifling through their wallets.

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